In January 2021, the Coast Guard received the Department of Homeland Security’s Outstanding Unit Award (OUA) for outstanding service during multiple hurricanes, the national response at the Southwest Border, and the COVID 19 global pandemic for the period of Aug. 25, 2017, through Nov. 30, 2020. The citation also praised the exceptional resilience of the Coast Guard during the fiscal year 2019 35-day partial government lapse in appropriation and the courage, resourcefulness, and professionalism of our people.
So when will those who are eligible receive a DHS OUA ribbon? And what do supervisors need to do to make sure the appropriate members receive it? Here are the latest guidelines from the Personnel Service Center (PSC):
When will the award ribbons be distributed?
The Coast Guard expects to receive its first shipment of ribbons, frames, and civilian lapel pins by June 2022. The PSC Military Medals and Awards section, (PSC-PSD-fs-ma), will distribute these ribbons and lapel pins to the areas, DCO, DCMS, districts, bases, and air station coordinators for distribution to their field units. The number sent will be based on PPC rosters.
Who is eligible?
- All Coast Guard active duty, reserve, Auxiliary, and civilian personnel who were affiliated with the service at any time during the award period and served honorably;
- Any other military service members active duty or reserve, Public Health Service, and NOAA personnel who were permanently assigned to serve a tour of duty with the Coast Guard during this period and did so honorably;
- Personnel assigned temporary duty to the Coast Guard for one of the specific events cited in the award, which include hurricane relief efforts, assistance at the Southwestern U.S. border, assistance in the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic, and working through a government shutdown;
- Civilian employees from other agencies assigned to the Coast Guard during this period of time.
Who is not eligible?
- Coast Guard members who received or have a pending disciplinary action from conduct that occurred during the award time period;
- Civilian employees who were not in compliance with equal employment provisions, merit system principles or DHS conduct standards at any point in the award period;
- Federal contractors.
How will eligibility be verified?
Units must verify members’ eligibility who were assigned during the award period. This will include any members who have received a permanent change of station (PCS) but are still in transit. Transferring members who have already arrived at their next duty station will be verified by their new command. Any member found non-eligible should receive notification.
Use this template to compile the roster. There are tabs for eligible and non-eligible members. The rosters for non-eligible members should be combined at the flag level and forwarded to: ARL.Medals@uscg.mil by April 30, 2022, where they will be kept for future reference.
Retired military members should be verified by their former unit. Retired or separated civilian employees must submit a request for consideration for this award to ARL.Medals@uscg.mil.
For other military service members, memos to request concurrence should be sent to ARL.Medals@uscg.mil. For civilian employees from other federal agencies, memos should be forward to COMDT (CG-124) at CivilianAwardRequests@uscg.mil. Memos should include TDY orders or detail/rotational assignment documentation, if applicable.
No awards will be presented until the concurrence request has been approved by the respective military service or federal agency.
How should service members wear the ribbon?
The DHS OUA should be worn after the Presidential Unit Citation and before the Department of Transportation Outstanding Unit Award.
How will the award be recorded?
Due to the large number of recipients, units will not be required to provide a copy of the citation with the ribbon or lapel pin. The award must still be entered into the Official Military Personnel File. A pdf of the citation is available for members to print for their personal records and can be found at A2X1018000615-20210112123904 (uscg.mil) on the Coast Guard Portal or Personnel Services Division - Medals & Awards (uscg.mil).
For civilians, no entry is required in electronic personnel files, but records will be kept at a local level.
Retired or separated members who want to add the award to their official military record should submit a request to PSC-BOPS-C to have a DD-215 issued
Once the approval process is complete, Direct Access (DA) entries can be made at the unit level through April 30, 2022. Members are encouraged to verify the entry after this deadline and contact their unit admin for missing entries. The appropriate DA entry will include:
- Award approval date: Jan. 25, 2021 - Date of the Commandant’s ALCOAST announcing the award
- Honor and Award: CGDH – New Code for DHS OUA
- From date and to date: Enter the member’s appropriate from and to dates provided in the eligibility roster. Acceptable date range will fall within the award period of 25 August 2017 through 30 November 2020.
Questions may be directed to ARL.Medals@uscg.mil. A listing of frequently asked questions (FAQ) will be compiled and posted at DHS OUA - All Documents (uscg.mil).